It's the first wine we made as garagistes; Barbera remains one of our favorites. We learned early, though, that the vineyard and grower have huge influence on the ultimate beauty of the wine.
If there’s a “Godfather” of Barbera, it’s Dick Cooper. The Cooper ranches grow some of the best around, and it makes deep, dark, mouth-watering wine. We had a Cooper-grown Barbera shortly after making our first wines and knew that we absolutely had to have some of his fruit. Of course, all his Barbera was contracted for. Unobtainium. So, when we received a call from Dick’s daughter, Chrissy, (like all good Godfathers, he’s surrounded by family) that Barbera was available, we jumped on it like an offer we couldn’t refuse.
This Barbera is loaded with cherry and cassis aromas with a sprinkling of clove. In the mouth it’s full of darker cherry and cola flavors with nutmeg on the finish. Flavors are deepening as the wine bottle ages; with firm acidity and moderate tannin, it just keeps improving with time.
California returned to more typical weather for 2016 with adequate rain. February was, however, warm and dry, encouraging early bud break; temperate summer conditions led to early harvest.
Sierra Foothills (Amador County)
16 months in 1, 2, and 3 year old French oak barrels
September 17, 2016
Brix at Harvest:
March 29, 2018
April 1, 2019
Cooper Ranch is set in the rolling hills just outside of Plymouth, California, full of Amador's rocky, red granite soil. The Coopers planted Barbera here in the late '50's, far ahead of everyone else in Amador County. Some of the vines date back more than 50 years to these original plantings. Like an old vine Zin, the Coopers head train their Barbera vines, a strategy that, while labor intensive, concentrates flavors while maintaining bright acidity.
Pair this wine’s lush fruit with something savory, rich, or a little salty. Herbed pork roast is one of our favorites with it, and it’s delightful with creamy pasta or risotto. The wine’s fruit and acid are perfect foils for rich food.
AWARDS AND ACCOLADES
Gold Medal, 2019 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition